After 32 years of private investment and strong community support to "Save The Flea Market" from development, a partial solution allowing it to operate in the 300 block of 7th Street SE was found. Now the City wants to take over management for itself. The License for The Flea Market at Eastern Market will be terminated at the end of September 2015 under a decision by Department of General Services (DGS) who manages the agreement for Diverse Markets Management (DMM) to operate the flea market.
The Mayor must find a solution to keep the independently-operated Flea Market at Eastern Market continuing in this space; for DMM, its employees, the exhibitors, and their legions of customers.
The Flea Market at Eastern Market has been held Sundays in the Capitol Hill neighborhood outside the historic Eastern Market since 1984. It was developed by Tom Rall, a founding member in 2005 of DMM, a small D.C. based LLC, which has managed the flea since 2011. After relocating the Flea Market from the adjacent Hine School, where it was displaced due to development, the popular and long-running market has continued, albeit in a third of its size. It now provides up to 66 spaces for vendors and approximately 15,000 people visit the flea market on a typical weekend day. Everything from antique furniture to maps, art, photography, clothing and textiles are exhibited. The Flea Market at Eastern Market has been a vibrant incubator space for small businesses, a job producer, as well as a treasured neighborhood meeting place. When the original Eastern Market building was gutted by fire in 2007 The Flea Market at Eastern Market carried on. It’s a neighborhood institution and a landmark in its own right.
We firmly believe that DGS cannot adequately manage the flea market, would not attempt to accommodate everyone, would create havoc for the adjacent and participating businesses and would negatively affect the public and neighborhood supporters of the market. The DC government should foster small business, not be taking it over.
The Flea Market at Eastern Market should continue to operate on 7th Street as the public, the developer, the ANC, the Council and the Mayor initially agreed.
We, the signers of this petition, believe it’s just not right.